Toddlers alternate between being ravenous bottomless pits and refusing to eat anything but their favorite foods — and picky eaters make things even more complicated, especially if they’ll only eat things like chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese. If climbing Mt. Everest seems easier than getting your toddler to eat healthy snacks, we’re here to help. Here are some healthy snacks even the pickiest toddler will enjoy.
Fruits are popular snacks — they’re sweet, they’re simple and they’re a favorite of toddlers and adults alike. While you can just slice up an apple or a banana and put it on a plate, where’s the fun in that?
- Pair apples with your favorite nut butter — it doesn’t have to be peanut butter, especially if you’ve got allergies to worry about.
- Dip grapes in your favorite yogurt and freeze them. They make amazing little frozen treats.
- Make fruit pizzas. Cut out “crusts” from tortillas, spread some cream cheese or Greek yogurt on them and set out fruits for your children to pick from so they can make fruit pizzas themselves.
- Mix your toddler’s favorite fruits in a tasty smoothie. You can even sneak a few veggies in there if they don’t usually eat vegetables.
You don’t need to stick with boring pieces of cut fruit — unless that’s what your toddler enjoys. There are plenty of ways to make it fun!
Getting toddlers to eat their veggies is an exercise in frustration most of the time. No one wants to eat their peas, and broccoli isn’t healthy if you have to drown it in cheese sauce to get your little ones to eat it. Try these fancy, yet simple, veggie snacks.
- Avocado boats: All it takes to make this fun little snack are an avocado, some celery, some cubed chicken and some mayo. Halve your avocado, scoop out the flesh and mix with finely chopped celery, cubed chicken and a couple of tablespoons of mayo, then scoop back into the avocado skin and serve with tortilla chips.
- Make cucumber sandwiches — put small pieces of meat, cheese and other vegetables between slices of cucumber for a fun finger sandwich.
- Roast up some chickpeas for a healthy, crunchy snack that will keep your toddler from craving potato chips.
- Vegetable fries: You don’t need to make French fries out of potatoes. You can turn nearly any vegetable into “fries” — bread some asparagus spears or broccoli florets and bake them.
It only takes a little effort to make veggies so much fun, your toddler will be begging for them during every snack time.
Making sure your toddler is getting enough dairy in their diet is essential to helping them develop strong bones. Here are a few snack ideas that might convince them to enjoy some calcium-rich dairy treats.
- Cut your cheese into fun shapes — cookie cutters are good for this — and put them on skewers or on whole-wheat pretzel sticks.
- Take your toddler’s favorite yogurt and put it in the freezer. Mix it with fruit to make some tasty fruit popsicles.
- Quesadillas: Melt cheese and whatever fillings your toddler enjoys between two tortillas for a snack or a tasty meal.
We love cheese in this house, so it’s not hard to get our little ones to enjoy a cheese stick or some sliced cheese, but if you’ve got a picky eater, these tricks can help you get a bit more dairy into their diet.
Many pre-packaged snacks rely on white or bleached flour as their base, but it isn’t the healthiest option. However, whole-wheat flours and products might have a consistency issue that will keep your toddler from enjoying their snacks.
Whole-grain treats like pretzels and Goldfish are a tasty option to help your toddlers eat a little healthier — they probably already love these salty snacks, so opting for whole grain can be a useful tool.
Whole-grain, low-sugar cereals like Kix and Chex can be a great snack option too, especially since they don’t require a whole lot of preparation.
If you make a lot of baked goods, try swapping out part or all your all-purpose flour with a whole-wheat alternative. Using half whole-wheat flour won’t change the consistency of your baked goods, but it will slowly improve your family’s overall diet.
It might take a while, but if you take the time to spice up your snacks, it might convince even the pickiest toddler to try some new foods and enjoy some healthy alternatives to sugar-packed, “kid-friendly” foods. You don’t have to change up your entire diet, but if you’ve got a picky eater, giving them some fun options might be the best way to expand their palate while you help them eat a little bit healthier.